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Ferrari Style

on July 29th, 2010
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29

Jul

Ferrari F430 engine

Ferrari F430 engine

A Day in the Life of a Ferrari Rally

by Alain Gayot

 

Once upon a time we had a chance to participate in a Ferrari Rally, which is one of the many events that the prestigious Italian manufacturer of GT cars gets involved in.
 
The mostly red cars with the prancing horse have crossed deserts and ascended mountain passes in all sorts of conditions over time to demonstrate the capabilities of the automobiles beyond racetracks. Their lead in wins at the FIA Formula 1 World Championship is a testament to their performance and endurance, and a billboard for sales. Continue reading “Ferrari Style” »


15

Jul

Alain Gayot getting a closer look at the Chevrolet Volt plug-in
Alain Gayot getting a closer look at the Chevrolet Volt plug-in

by Jeff Hoyt


Congratulations to President Obama for finally getting behind the wheel of the Chevy Volt electric vehicle with extended range capability during a visit to the Compact Power battery plant in Holland, Mich. LG Chem, the parent of Compact Power, is making the battery cells for the Volt, which goes on sale late this year in California, the Washington, D.C. area, and Michigan.


But we beat the President to the punch, experiencing the car powered with electricity at all times way back in September of 2008 talked about the car’s importance with the former Vice Chairman of GM Robert Lutz before he retired. The Volt, with its range of about 340 miles, was even used by Olympic athletes back in February in Vancouver.



02

Apr

Alain Gayot getting ready to break the speed barrier with the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren
Alain Gayot getting ready to break the speed barrier with the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren

Breaking the 200 MPH Speed Barrier With World Class Driving

by Alain Gayot

 

Some say that hitting 200 mph in an automobile is equivalent to breaking the sound barrier in an airplane. Technically, there is a 568 mph difference, and yes, 200 mph on the road is scary fast. But for [rich] adrenaline junkies, it’s guaranteed to satisfy. In addition, you are in total control of the vehicle, albeit with a racing instructor in the passenger seat. If you tried on your own, providing you had the right tool, you probably could not and would not make it.

 

 

Enter World Class Driving and their friendly and experienced instructors, and your dream comes true. Well, it could. Not that it ever was my dream to achieve that speed on the ground, but I did have the opportunity do to it and was comfortable enough to try. I thought, “What’s the big deal?” I had gone that fast flying airplanes (and even up to twice the speed of sound flying the Concorde as a passenger). Let me tell you, this is just as thrilling, but requires much more work, preparation and precise coordination.

 

Continue reading “World Class Driving Car Club” »



The New GM

on February 23rd, 2010
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23

Feb

Vice Chairman of GM Bob Lutz
Vice Chairman of GM Bob Lutz

Bob Lutz Drives Home a Few Key Points for the Energized Automaker and the Industry as a Whole

 

by Alain Gayot
 

 

From his early upbringing in Zurich and cross educational platforms in Lausanne and UC Berkeley to a five year stint as a US Marine Naval Aviator, Vice Chairman of GM Robert Lutz has been a citizen of the auto world. With positions at General Motors in Europe starting in 1963, BMW, Ford Europe and U.S., Chrysler and back in the General ranks since 2002, the multi-lingual executive wants to hang on until his “Intense Focus on Superior Products” doctrine sticks at The New GM. “Our J.D. Power Initial Quality Study results are at par with Honda and Toyota… and we can still do much better,” claims Lutz. “Residual values for our new models are up,” he added, “sales are up, and we are energized with the launch of the Volt in the fall of 2010.”

 

Continue reading “The New GM” »



Porsche Panamera

on November 24th, 2009
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24

Nov

Porsche Panamera Turbo

Porsche Panamera Turbo

Power of Four


by Alain Gayot
 

The definition of a Porsche could be along the lines of: Sleek and efficient German-made two-seat sports car with a mid-or rear-positioned engine with impeccable handling.
  So, why is it that when the engineers in Stuttgart move the engine to the front and add two more doors, the car flies even higher, on a business level? And, it’s an SUV to boot, which could not be furthest from the definition of what the iconic car born circa 1946 had been, and it’s been Porsche’s top seller since inception.  

  Continue reading “Porsche Panamera” »



Jenson Button

Jenson Button

By Alain Gayot

 

I have been a fan of Formula One racing for as long as I can remember. Sunday afternoons watching these soldiers fight it out on the racetrack felt a lot like what my ancestors would have felt, watching gladiators in the  Arenes de Nimes   –  which by the way is the place where we got the  word Denim  from. The Levi brothers used  the durable  Toile de Nimes to manufacture solid outerwear for the 49ers;  no, not the football team. The drivers lost their lives in horrendous and fiery crashes. Due to improved technology, not only are the cars faster today but, thankfully, no one dies anymore. Although the drivers are still the critical part of the operation, software in its many shapes and applications is what wins races. How is it possible that in the 2009 championship the usual suspects (Ferrari, McLaren Mercedes, BMW and Renault) are quasi scoreless after five races? And the British sensation of the last two seasons, Lewis Hamilton, is left in the brake dust of Brawn-Mercedes, RBR-Renault and Toyota.

Continue reading “The Curious Case of Jenson Button” »



The Soul is Cool

on March 14th, 2009
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14

Mar

 

Kia Soul

Kia Soul

 By Alain Gayot

It’s quite cool to hit Miami Beach during Spring Break. You’ll find lots of energy up and down Collins Avenue, in the emerging Design District, and on quaint Brickell Key. It’s even more cool if you do it in a totally new automobile: in this case the thought out of the box Kia Soul.  This value-packed automobile hits showrooms anytime now. It offers a bunch of interior space, a great-sounding Infinity audio system with speakers that light up to the beat of the music, integrated iPod operation, and enough horsepower to haul four jovial beach-goers and their ice chest and other equipment. Best part is, its price, starting at $13,995 with a smiling in your face front-end, a boxy body and a fifth door for easy access. Kia marketing peeps assure us, it’s truly a new way to roll. Our Alien Sand colored tester with glow in the dark Soul logo laden seats turned as many heads as the almost has-been glamorous Lamborghinis in South Beach.

 

Continue reading “The Soul is Cool” »



BMW Art Cars

on February 12th, 2009
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12

Feb

At the LACMA BMW event

Alain Gayot at the LACMA BMW event

Fast Art


by Alain Gayot

 

A long time ago in a place far away from the City of the Angels, I grew up collecting toy cars. Yes, I always liked cars, often taking them apart and putting them back together. (The same goes for watches but that will be for another story.) One of these cars was a model of the 1975 BMW 3.0 CSL that car enthusiast and racer Herve Poulin commissioned Alexander Calder to paint. I loved the car design by itself, loved the race car version even more, had no idea who Calder was, but I thought his finished version was rather cool. He also painted a plane for Braniff International, for those who remember the progressive airline which was the only American company to fly — albeit very briefly — the magnificent but doomed Concorde supersonic airplane.

Continue reading “BMW Art Cars” »



 

Alain with a Rolls Royce

by Alain Gayot


Which car would you buy today? That is becoming an ever more difficult question to answer. For sure, the current trend is small and fuel efficient automobiles. One could go with a Scion tc for something zippy but small enough and easy to drive.


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